Mair W Culbreth Headshot

Mair W. Culbreth

  • Assistant Professor, Dance
  • Director, Pilates Certificate Program


Ph.D., Dance Studies, The Ohio State University
M.S., Kinesiology, San Francisco State University


Dr. Culbreth creates, researches, and teaches at the intersection of Dance and Cultural Studies. Engaging a social kinesthetic framework, she investigates the geopolitics of movement, performance practices, and embodiment. Her work engages in social justice and community engagement; as a movement researcher, she considers the ways in which the body is the site for marginalization and how movement functions to enact agency and challenge social norms. Her doctoral research analyzed the politics, pedagogies, and performances practices of the San Francisco Bay Area as it illuminates the innovative dancemaking specific to this cultural geography. She focused specifically on LGBTQ+/Queer, Critical Disability Studies, Critical Race and Feminist theories to articulate the impact and innovation of dance-makers/researchers on embodied identity. As a dance-maker, Dr. Culbreth incorporates her scholarly research into her creative practice and generates new areas of inquiry at the intersection of the two. As an educator, she is particularly interested in cultivating ethical, critical pedagogies of dance, where the curriculum engages both dance studies students and interdisciplinary conversations around embodiment.

She trained and performed professionally in San Francisco with Kathleen Hermesdorf of MotionLab, Company Mecanique, Lizz Roman and Dancers, Sean Dorsey of FreshMeat Productions, and Project Bandaloop. In 2003, Mair received the Bay Area Izzie Award for Performance. She worked as a Clinical Researcher on an NIH-funded grant at Stanford University studying the impact of movement on aging and health. While conducting her Master’s research, she designed and implemented a curriculum for a San Francisco High School focused on Embodied Education that was both its on area of study and incorporated into the traditional academic classroom.

In her service to the field, Dr. Culbreth served on the board for the Congress on Research in Dance (CORD) as committee chair for Graduate Students of Dance Studies and presented both written and performance work for the annual conferences. She holds a Ph.D. in Dance Studies with a doctoral minor in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, an M.S. in Kinesiology from San Francisco State University, and a B.A. in Multidisciplinary Studies from North Carolina State University. She is a master teacher in the Pilates Method, utilizing this modality to impact people’s ability to move for life. Combining her training in Kinesiology, Pilates, and Dance, she works with populations of people with neurological issues such as Parkinson’s and Traumatic Brain Injury, utilizing neuroscience, art, and movement repatterning to address quality of life and movement as a mechanism for the neuroplasticity of the brain.